Millvale Police Officer Joe Spalick attributes training and teamwork to firefighters
Millvale Police Officer Joe Spalick acted on pure adrenaline when he helped save three people from a completely ravaged house fire on Monday afternoon.
“I was the first on the scene and instantly saw the porch ablaze and thick black smoke all over the house,” Spalick said of the incident at 301 William Street where the houses are. perched on a steep hill.
“I couldn’t go up the steps because the fire was already breaking out, but the neighbors were screaming they thought three people were inside.”
Spalick climbed the neighbor’s steps and ran to the back of the house where he found two teenagers and a cat who had escaped into the backyard. He took them to safety and ran to help their mother, who was frantically pacing the house in search of her purse and medicine, he said.
“You think you have time to collect your things but you don’t realize how bad it is,” said Spalick, 25, a graduate of the Shaler-area school district. “You don’t realize what’s going on in your house that it could collapse at any time. “
Emergency services began to pour in, one after another, until the engines filled the street. Teams from Millvale, Cherry City, Sharpsburg, O’Hara, Bellevue, Ross, Shaler and Aspinwall responded. The Salvation Army’s disaster relief services also provided assistance.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze before it spread to nearby homes, said Millvale Fire Chief Karl Cavanaugh.
The Allegheny County Fire Marshal is investigating the cause and will determine an estimate of the damage.
Two firefighters were injured, one with burns and another with a twisted ankle. The burnt firefighter was taken to hospital while the other was treated on the spot.
Millvale Police Chief Tim Komoroski said the two were recovering at their home on Tuesday.
No other injuries were reported.
Komoroski praised the efforts of Spalick, a junior officer who graduated from the Police Academy in August 2020 and joined the department the following month.
“He did a great job, as they all did,” Komoroski said. “It takes a group effort. Fortunately in a small town, many of our emergency services members are in town and they are on the scene within seconds.
Spalick said Monday’s blaze was the most dramatic call in his seven months on the team, and he is grateful for the extensive training at the academy and on the job.
“All the first responders did a great job,” he said. “I’ve seen fires before, but when it comes to something as serious as this, where people’s lives were in danger and you knew the house could collapse, it’s a different situation. “